Potential is a Lie

I don’t believe in “potential”:

+ artistic potential

+ athletic potential

+ redemptive potential

Though the word  speaks promise and hope, it can also freeze and feed damaging pride.

Countless children (and adults) are blessed with potential…

… Few realize it.

Because let’s face it: “realizing” potential means:

+ risk

+ hard work

+ discipline

And few of us want to go down that road.

“Potential” keeps things in dreamland, where we are free to conjure images of “What I could’ve been.”

“Potential” keeps us from confronting reality:

…. That maybe we’re lazy and undisciplined.

…. That maybe we’re not the best, and need to learn from someone else.

…. That maybe we are in desparate need of editing and revision

…. That maybe “the artistic life” is NOT a matter of receiving a sprinkling of the magic pixie dust, but is in FACT a matter of waking up at 4:30am to write poetry before the children wake up (see Sylvia Plath)

But this, in fact, is where REALITY lies. This is where the BLESSING resides.

If you live inside of “potential” what begins to happen is that you begin to believe your own hype:

– I’m the best

– I could’ve been “full-time”

– I could’ve written that record

– I am owed respect

While “the artists” are waking up early and submitting themselves to discipline, while they are humbly sitting before their craft and confessing the terrifying unknowing of “how-to-make-it-better”,




…. You can flip that burger for table #2.

Potential is a lie. Realization is the truth. “Done” is the land of destiny.


Morning Pages: Mark 5 and “Ho-Hum Jesus”

I need to write more I need to write more I need to write more.

What can happen in ten minutes? What can transfer from soul to screen? From brain to keyboard?

Let’s see.

I’m teaching in 5 days. Forty minutes on the 5th chapter of Mark’s gospel. (I write it this way, because I think language should shock us out or our spiritual sleep — all language; “Mark 5” just sets us up to blow by what is really going on — what is “Mark’s gospel”? What is “gospel”? Who was Mark? … but I digress).

Here’s where I want to start: Jesus exorcises a demon. Jesus heals a woman. Jesus raises a child from the dead. Our first instinct is take a step back and say, “Woah!” and then point to these scriptures (to ourselves and the rest of the world), saying, “You see?!!? You see?!!? You see how awesome this guy is? He wants to heal folks! He wants to set us free! He wants to make you ‘all better’!” And he does, mostly (see the parts about “taking up your cross”)…

But guess what?

<whisper> Other folks healed, exorcised, even raised people…

Peter did it, Paul did it, Elijah and Elisha did it, and that’s just the beginning. Ancient histories are pretty full of people — Jewish, Christian, and pagans — who could heal, exorcise demons and even occasionally resurrect people.

So what do we do with this? Is Jesus actually not that special? Is he just “Ho-Hum Jesus”? “Been-There-Done-That-Blogged-About-It Jesus?”

… Or maybe the healings aren’t the point?

Maybe Jesus’ healings (and by implications, Mark’s stories of the healings) aren’t meant to be just spiritual hocus-pocus (or the plural hocii-pocii?). Maybe Mark wants us to understand something deeper.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I think there is an under-current to the story, something that may be simultaneously more revolutionary and insidious than we ever imagined, and more normal and “every day” than we could ever have dreamed of…

… Because isn’t that who YHWH is, after all? And isn’t that what life with Him is, as well? More revolutionary + subversive, but also more gritty, and “Monday-morning-I-need-my-coffee?” (yes, I’m inventing new words, but it’s my blog, so deal with it lol.)

I’m still processing through, so you’ll have to check the tape in order to hear how deep the rabbit hole goes, but the invitation is there. Stay tuned, and “listen, if you have ears to hear…”